Championship Recaps from Saturday at the NARCh FINALS
Saturday Championships Recaps
By: Raine Hernandez
18u Platinum – Mission Bo Dangles vs. Mission Skittles
Easily the most balanced division at the 2019 West Coast NARCh Finals, the Midget Platinum division found themselves in an interesting situation. 8 out of the 9 teams had at least 1 victory in round robin, 5 out of the 7 teams in the playoffs have at least 1 tie, and while only one team was undefeated are the Mission Bo Dangles, and all four of their wins were very competitive.
To show the parity in the division, in the quarter-final every team that was the higher seed (Warrior Revo, Red Deer Hydrovac Snipers, High Rollers), ended up losing in their contests and were eliminated from the tournament.
In the semi-finals, the Bo Dangles staved off the upset and defeated the Konixx Outcasts, while the Mission Skittles defeated the Pure Maple Elite team out of Canada, setting up for one of the most exciting and evenly matched teams in the tournament.
Having played in the Pro division and nearly defeating the Tour Road Runners in the Junior division, many felt that the Skittles were the presumptive favourites to win the Midget Platinum division. Things changed when the Skittles and Bo Dangles squared off in the round robin, in which Bo Dangles defeated the Skittles by a score of 6-3.
This time around, the Skittles were looking to change the narrative and defeat the Bo Dangles in an all-Mission battle.
Unlike their previous game against each other, it was the Skittles who came out of the gate strong, only until Bo Dangles would come back to win the hockey game. Flash forward to the championship game and it was Aidan Hreschuk’s shot past Austin Strom, set up by Ty Murchinson, as the Bo Dangles were up 1-0 with 8:18 left to go in the first period.
The Skittles would answer right back, when on the power-play, Patrick Vulgan sneaked his way past the defense to equal to score at 1.
It is always important to have the upper-hand, especially in the later parts of the period for momentum purposes, something that was clearly on the minds of Bo Dangles star Josh Groll. With almost a minute left into the period, Groll wired a shot top-glove to get break the tie and give his team the lead, leading into the second period.
In the second period, the Skittles maintained the pressure, throwing everything they could towards goaltender Lucas Massie could handle, and luckily for Bo Dangles, Massie was sharp between the pipes. Although the Skittles would come close a few times, Groll would add an empty-netter, thus securing the victory and winning the 18u Platinum championship in style.
18u Gold – Sin City Barons vs. Sour Skittles
It was a game for the ages for the Sin City Barons in their semi-final game. The Barons squared off against the Mission Mayhem in the 2v3 game to decide who would play in the 18u Gold championship game. Their game was the longest game at the tournament thus far, going into triple-overtime, where the Barons would finally finish the game to book their ticket against the Sour Skittles in the finals.
Many would think that after playing two games back-to-back (technically) would drain a team’s energy (especially a team with only 6 players), yet, it proved to not be the case in their match against the Sour Skittles 02, who were looking to capture their second straight NARCh Cup after already winning the 16u Platinum division.
Throughout the 24 minutes of hockey played, the Barons were the ones who were controlling the pace of the game. Nathan Valdez opened the scoring for the Barons, followed by Mark Nuwag, and in the second period, Darion Conaway tallied 2 goals to go up 4-0.
Jakob Ogan was stellar in net for the Barons, eliminating the threat that is the Sour Skittles’ high-powered offense. Although the Skittles broke the shutout streak with 36 seconds left, it didn’t matter, as the Barons were now champions after a hard-fought semis and championship game.
18u Silver – Bulldogs Grey vs. Angels
The Bulldogs Grey team in the 18u Silver division shared a similar story with the Sin City Barons, that being, their road to the championship game. The Bulldogs played Pure Maple in their semis, winning in the most dramatic fashion, scoring on the powerplay with 0.3 seconds remaining on the clock, after coming back to tie the game with 2 minutes left.
After coming off such a resilient victory, it seemed as if the Bulldogs were a team of destiny but standing in their way were the Angels from France. The Angels have won almost every division that they were playing in and could cap it all off with a victory in the 18u Silver division, something the Bulldogs were trying to stop.
It would not be a good start for the Bulldogs. Just 11:25 into the hockey game, Theo Rochereau went in to shoot, beating Maya Taveski to give the Angels the one-goal advantage quite early into the hockey game. However, moments later, Jack Sapra would get on the board, ultimately tying the hockey game, after one period of hockey.
Much like in their semi-final game, it would be in the second period where the Bulldogs were taking control of the hockey game, imposing their will on opponents to try and take the lead. The Bulldogs did just that, scoring two consecutive goals from Bryce Lorenz and Corey Mater, putting them up 3-1.
While the Angels would score to cut the lead to 1, Taveski was solid in between the pipes, as the Bulldogs would rally around their goaltender to help preserve the lead. Mater would later add an empty-netter, as the Bulldogs stopped the Angels dynasty, and win the 18u Silver division.
Pama Girls 14u – Pama Labeda Golden Knights vs. Hi-Chew
The entertaining hockey games would continue as the Pama Labeda Golden Knights were looking to add to their trophy collection, as they would clash with Hi-Chew in the Pama Girls 14u division. Evidently enough, when the Golden Knights and Hi-Chew played earlier in tournament, it would play out to a 1-1 tie, meaning this time around, everyone was expecting an evenly matched showdown.
In their respective games to get themselves into the championship game, the Golden Knights defeated Hi-Chew Anarchy in a close game, while Hi-Chew found themselves in a dog fight with the Labeda Jets, barely edging them out, but came away with the 4-3 victory.
It was a very fundamentally sound game the entire game, McKenzie Williams who scored the opening goal for the Golden Knights, yet, Hi-Chew bounced back as Malia Morrison tied it all up, as Hi-Chew and the Golden knights would be tied heading into the second period.
This championship game was clearly a duel between both netminders. Ella Park for Hi-Chew and Jolee Savoy for the Golden Knights were perfect in the second period, as both teams could not score, meaning they were headed for an extra period of hockey to decide the game-winner.
Just 9:04 into the extra frame, Emma Taveski found Bella Mardesich beating Recerna to come away with victory, and the 14u Pama Girls title.
8u Platinum – Mission Renegades vs. OC Marvel Red
Saturday would also be the day that the 8u division was coming to a close, with the platinum division championship game starting things off, when the Mission Renegades played OC Marvel Red.
Both teams were dominant in the preliminary round, the Renegades were undefeated with a 4-0-0 record, outscoring their opponents 38-7, while OC Marvel Red finished with a 3-0-1 record, while they outscored everyone 31-5. Due to their performance, the Renegades were gifted with a bye straight to the championship game, meaning OC Marvel had to play Pure Maple Elite to clinch a spot in the final, which they did in a 6-2 win.
The Renegades quickly showed why they were the best team in the division.
Casey Martin put the team on his back in the first period, scoring three consecutive goals to complete the natural hat-trick, putting the Renegades up 3-0. OC Marvel would get 1 goal back before the period ended, when Nolan Robbins scored with 48 seconds to trim the lead to 3-1.
Christian Andal was strong in net, while Drew McDevitt had 2 goals, while Makua Custudio and Joseph Garcia also contributed to the goal count, as the Renegades controlled the second period, ultimately taking the 8u Platinum title in style.
8u Gold – Temecula Warriors vs. Labeda Jets
8u Gold was a much similar story when the Temecula Warriors played the Labeda Jets for an opportunity to win the gold medal. The Jets were very close to playing in the Platinum division, however, fell a little short from making the cut, now playing in the Gold division, and hoping to pull through with a NARCh Cup.
Goal scoring was not an issue for the Jets in this hockey game.
The Jets put a total of 14 pucks in the net, with Colin Kim leading the way with 3 goals and 3 assists. Also contributing was Noah Rodriguez who also notched himself a hat-trick, while Dolce Tadeo and Sean Fordon had 2 goals each. All of which turned out to be the difference makers, as the Jets would take the win 14-3 and claim the 8u gold division over the Warriors.
8u Silver – Bulldogs White vs. Konixx Voodoo/Quakes
The last championship of the day was a nail-bitter between the Bulldogs White and the Konixx Voodoo/Quakes for the 8u Silver championship. Both teams were in a battle prior to their game against one another in the finals.
The Bulldogs managed to take care of the Rancho Cucamonga FireDogs by a score of 7-3, while Konixx defeated Pure Maple in a close one, winning their game 3-2. This meant that it would be a battle between goaltenders and team defense to win this hockey game.
Jayden Kehrier for the Bulldogs and Devin Werbach for Konixx played some of the best goaltending seen in this tournament, especially since it was played in the championship game. Benjamin Welham was the first to score on either of these goalies, giving the Bulldogs the slight edge early into the contest.
Kehrier would continue to stop all the pucks thrown in his direction, as the Bulldogs would hold off Konixx for a 1-0 lead after 12 minutes of play. Konixx would finally solve the Bulldogs strong goaltender, when Alexander Filev scored to even the score at 1. Suddenly, it would be Konixx again to score, Kaylee Lehmkuhl got the shot past Kehrier to give Konixx the 2-1 lead.
This period, it was Werbach who would steal the spotlight. The Konixx goaltender was standing on his head, as the Bulldogs just could not get anything past him. Holding onto the lead, the Konixx Voodoo/Quakes became the 8u Silver champions.